CV

MATI KARMIN

MatiBorn on February 26, 1959 in Tartu, Estonia

Education

1966-1977 H.Treffner’s Grammar School
1981 – 1986 Estonian Academy of Arts, sculpture

Career

1986 – 1995 Estonian Academy of Arts, lecturer
1992 – 1995 president of Estonian Artists Union
1996 – 2000 SA Eesti Kunstivaramu, Chairman of a Board
2000 – Tartu Art College, sculpture department

Pedagogical career

1986 – 1994 Estonian Academy of Arts, lecturer
Since 2000 Tartu Higher Art School, 2001 professor

Solo exhibitions

  • 1987, 1991 Gallery of the Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 1992 Sinimandria Gallery, Tartu, Estonia
  • 1993 Sammas Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 1994 My Father. Sammas Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 1995 My Father. Mücsarnok, Budapest, Hungary
  • 1995 My Father. City Gallery, Kotka, Finland
  • 1996 Artist and Muses. City Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 2000 Scarabs Balls. Sammas Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 2002 Amber Room. City Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 2003 Amber Room. Personal exhibition in The Retretti Art Centre, Finland
  • 2004 Marinemine design furniture. Ferrum house, Kuressaare
  • 2005 Marinemine design furniture. Viru Art Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 2006 Small sculptings. KUMU Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 2006 Small sculptings. Gallery Nõmme, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 2008 Minefield angels. Art gallery of the town Huy, Belgium
  • 2010 Baby mine. Sculptural objects from marinemine shells. Gallery of the Tallinn Art Hall
  • 2011 From military equipment to design objects. Tallinn European capital of Culture 2011. Tallinn Maritime Museum.
  • 2013 What is not ruined by rust. Tallinn Art Hall Gallery

Group exhibitions

  • 1988 Kuva. Joint exhibition of Estonian and Finnish artists. Tallinn, Estonia
  • 1988 Sculpture quadrennial of Baltic States. Hotel “Latvia”, Riga, Latvia
  • 1988 Triennial of young artists from Baltic States. Vilnius, Lithuania
  • 1988 Joint exhibition of Soviet and American young artists. Soviart Art Centre, Kiev, Tbilisi, Odessa, Harkov
  • 1989 – 1991 Structure/Metaphysics. Group exhibition of Estonian artists.
    • Finland: Pori Art Museum, Pori; Helsinki Art Hall, Helsinki; Rovaniemi Art Museum, Rovaniemi;
    • Germany: Kiel City Gallery, Kiel; Gallery “Nemo”, Eckenförde;
    • Sweden: Stockholm Kulturhuset, Liljevalchs Art Hall,
    • Stockholm; Linköping Museum, Linköping
  • 1989 Sculpture Triennial. Gdansk, Poland
  • 1992 10 Sculptors. Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 1993 Art from Estonia. Großburgwedel, Hanover, Germany
  • 1994 Unexistent Art. The 2nd annual exhibition of the Soros Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia; Tallinn, Estonia
  • 1995 Fabrique d’Histoire. Saaremaa Biennial, Kuressaare, Estonia
  • 1995 Mobile 1. Estonian kinetic art. Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 1997 10 Sculptors. Tallinn Art Hall, Estonia
  • 1998 Freedom of Choice. Anniversary exhibition of Estonian Republic. Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 2007 Culture Catapults. Haapsalu Bishop Castle
  • 2007 The Art of Estonian 1980-ies. KUMU Art Museum. Tallinn, Estonia
  • 2012 The Annual Exhibition for Estonian Artist Union. Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 2015 Sculptor’s joint exhibition. The Museum of New Art in Pärnu

Monumental sculptures

  • 1984 Broadcloth factory monument in Kärdla, Estonia
  • 1989 Song Festivals monument in Tartu, Estonia
  • 1989 Monument to Charles Leroux in Pirita (architect Tiit Trummal), Tallinn, Estonia
  • 1991 Monument to Oscar Brackmann in Pärnu, Estonia
  • 1995 Memorial to the catastrophe of M/F “Estonia”, Tahkuna, Hiiumaa, Estonia
  • 1995 Monument to Alfred Neuland. Valga, Estonia
  • 1995 Caryatids on the façade of the Building of Humanitarian Sciences of Tartu University, Tartu, Estonia
  • 1996 Marble relief to the Tallinn Crematory, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 1996 Monument to Hugo Treffner (architect Tiit Trummal) in Tartu, Estonia
  • 1997 Monument to Andres Saal (architect Tiit Trummal), Tori, Estonia
  • 1997 Memorial to catastrophe of M/F “Estonia”, Pärnu, Estonia
  • 1998 Figures to the fountain on Town Hall square (architect Tiit Trummal) in Tartu, Estonia
  • 1998 Monument to C. R. Jakobson (architect Tiit Trummal) in Viljandi, Estonia
  • 1998 Independence War monument group at Ropka cemetary in Tartu, Estonia
  • 2001 Jaan Tõnisson monument (architect Tiit Trummal) in Tartu, Estonia
  • 2003 Equestrian monument Saint George with the Dragon in Tori, Estonia
  • 2005 Fountain monument Neptun in Kadrioru Park, Estonia
  • 2006 Monument to Michael Park, Pirita, Estonia
  • 2007 Decorative monument Pig, Tartu, Estonia
  • 2007 Monument to Juri Lotman, Tartu, Estonia
  • 2007 Monument to J.V. Jannsen, Pärnu, Estonia
  • 2008 Monument to trainer Tzikin, Kalev Sport Hall, Estonia
  • 2009 Monument to Germann, Tartu Botanic Garden, Estonia
  • 2010 Monument to Marie Under, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 2012 Decorative sculpture „Wanderer“ on the historic trade road. Põlva County, Estonia
  • 2012 Accolade for Estonian Teacher. Haljala, Lääne-Viru County, Estonia
  • 2013 Ruben Jaari’s relief. Helsinki
  • 2013 Väino Tuppit’s relief, East-Tallinn Central Hospital
  • 2014 Memorial for the perished Forest Brothers. Vastseliina cemetery, Võru County, Estonia
  • 2015 Alexander von Schubert’s bust. Vihula Manor, Lääne-Viru County, Estonia
  • 2015 Decorative sculpture “Hearts”. Keila Joa Park, Harjumaa
  • 2015 Decorative sculpture / fountain. Vocational Training Centre of Viljandi, Vana-Võidu
  • 2016 Eino Baskin’s relief. Teachers House. Tallinn, Estonia

Winning Entries of Competitions

  • 1996 Monument for M/S Estonia. Pärnu, Estonia
  • 1997 Figure Group for Estonian War of Independence. Ropka Cemetery, Tartu
  • 1997 Grave Monument for Arnold Matteus. Tartu, Estonia
  • 1997 Kissing Students fountain. Tartu, Estonia
  • 1999 Commemorative coin for Singing Festival
  • 2000 Monument for Jaan Tõnisson. Tartu, Estonia
  • 2006 Commemorative coin for Torino Winter Olympics
  • 2006 Monument for Juri Lotman. Tartu, Estonia
  • 2006 Monument for J.V. Jannsen. Pärnu, Estonia
  • 2008 Monument for Marie Under. Tallinn, Estonia
  • 2009 G. A. Germann’s bust. Tartu Botanic Garden, Estonia
  • 2014 Sculpture group in Keila-Joa Park. Estonia
  • 2015 Decorative sculpture for Vocational Training Centre of Viljandi. Estonia
  • Rewards

    • 1986 The Annual Reward of Young Artist
    • 1993 The Nominal Kristjan Raud Art Premium
    • 2003 The Nominal Anton Starkopf Sculpture Prize
    • 2012 Estonian State Decoration: The Order of The White Class, IV class
    • 2012 The Mary Medal of The Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin

    Credits

    • 1998 Tartu’s Deed of the Year – Fountain „Kissing Students“
    • 2001 Tartu’s Deed of the Year – Monument to Jaan Tõnisson
    • 2007 Tartu’s Deed of the Year – Monument to Juri Lotman
    • 2007 Tartu’s Title of Honor: Outstanding Cultur Carrier
    • 2007 Pärnu’s Deed of the Year – Monument to J.V.Jannsen
    • 2008 Tartu’s Deed of the Year – Decorative sculpture „Pig“

    Bibliography

    Personal catalogues:

    • Mati Karmin. Introduction by B. Bernštein. Tallinn, 1995Struktuur/Metafüüsika. Vaatenurk eesti nüüdiskunsti, Porin Taidemuseo, Satakunnan Kirjateollisuus Oy, Pori, 1989
    • Unexistent Art. 2nd annual exhibition of the Soros Centre for Contemporary Arts, Estonia, Tallinn, 1994
    • Ajaloo Vabrik. Fabrique d’Histoire. Saaremaa Biennaal, 1995
    • Eesti Kunstnikud 2. Kaasaegse Kunsti Eesti Keskus, Tallinn, 2000

    Catalogues

    • Struktuur/Metafüüsika. Vaatenurk eesti nüüdiskunsti, Porin Taidemuseo, Satakunnan Kirjateollisuus Oy, Pori, 1989
    • Unexistent Art. 2nd annual exhibition of the Soros Centre for Contemporary Arts, Estonia, Tallinn, 1994
    • Ajaloo Vabrik. Fabrique d’Histoire. Saaremaa Biennaal, 1995
    • Eesti Kunstnikud 2. Kaasaegse Kunsti Eesti Keskus, Tallinn, 2000

    Magazines

    • Olep, J. Mati Karmini juhtum. “Vikerkaar”, No. 12, 1987
    • Varblane, R., Kivimaa, K. Kunstnik ja tema muusad. “Vikerkaar”, No. 4, 1996

    Newspapers

    • Juske, A. Mati Karmini isakujud. “Kultuurileht”, 26. 02. 1994
    • Juske, A. Raudhaikud. “Eesti Aeg”, 18. 06. 1991
    • Liivrand, H. Kunstisalongis. “Sirp ja Vasar”, 24. 04. 1987
    • Liivrand, H. Me elame aastatuhande lõpul. “Postimees”, 05. 07. 1993
    • Olep, J. “Juudit” ja rakutehnika. “Sirp”, 14. 06. 1991
    • Talvistu, E. Kaks skulptorit Tartus eraldi saalides. “Rahva Hääl”, 06. 10. 1994
    • Talvistu, E. Kunstipresident “Sinimandria” galeriis. “Postimees”, 30. 11. 1992
    • Toom, M. Eklektiliselt stiilne näitus. “Eesti Ekspress”, 14. 06. 1991
    • Väri, H. Karminretrospektiiv. “Postimees”, 10. 12. 1992
    • Juske, A. Mati Karmini naise-kujund kunstis. “Eesti Päevaleht”, 05. 03. 1996
    • Saarep, S. Kunstnik ja muusad. “Sirp”, 15. 03. 1996
    • Humbert, M. Tühjuse organiseerimine. “Postimees”, 04. 06. 1997
    • Tuumalu, T. Märgid mälestustest. “Postimees”, 26. 09. 1997
    • Püttsepp, J. Skulptor Mati Karmin võitis taas. “Postimees”, 22. 02. 1998

    Filmography

    • “Eesti nüüdiskunst. Mati Karmin” (10 min.) Eesti Televisioon.
    • "Skulptor Mati Karmin" (30 min), Eesti Televisioon 1988.
    • "The Collector", Russian Film in Estonia. V. Blinov 2004

    More info about Mati

    Mati Karmin has more than 30 years been one of the central personalities in the Estonian sculpture. His career as an artist is characterised by an intense and remarkably versatile activity.Like many of his contemporaries, the representatives of so-called 1980s generation in the Estonian art, Karmin recived professional training in the Estonian State Art Institute, wich was thorough, yet traditional, not to say conservative according to the internationa criteria. During his tudie, Estonian sculpture was predominantly figurative and employed traditional materials like stone and bronze.

    Karmin, on the other hans, has been creating almost all his independent work in rapidly charging art scene, wich is characterised by the denial of traditions, the disputation of values, and blurring of borders between the art forms as well as art and its surrounding space. The notion of sculpture itself has undergone an especially radical transformation. Karmin has reacted to the changing situation perhaps in more dynamic, yet also controversial manner than the majority of Estonian artists. Vibrant creativity, with a very professional plastic thinking and perfect material perception at its heart, has allowed him to act as a traditionalist as well an innovator, achieving outstanding results in both areas.

    Besides traditional materials, primarily bronze, Karmin has taken inspiration from unconventional solutions and employed innovative materials right from the beginning of his career. Early on, he caught attention with one of his first exhibited sculptures, “Military Fox” (1981), cleverly formed of corroded scrap metal details. Scrap metal has frequently emerged as an important material and source of inspiration also in the later work of Karmin. Up to mid-1990s, he used scrap metal basically within the borders of the traditional notion of sculpture. By that we think of figures and decorative forms that communicate with space, like the conventional free sculpture, and that are meant to be placed on a platform. Having previously only tentatively touched the borders of the classical notion of sculpture, Karmin in 1994 surprised the public with an epochal conceptual installation “My Father”, taking as the material the career and extensive collection of weeds of his father who was an agricultural reasearcher. Within the same period falls also the dispaly of impressive construction site cabins of corroded metal on the green area in front of Tallinn art Hall Gallery during the group exhibition of innovative sculptors.

    One of the most grandiose manifestations of the exploring line of Karmin’s work is the marine mine furniture project that began five years ago. Northern coast of Estonia and especially the islands, wich during the years of occupation were an almost inaccessible border zone for the common including heaps of corroded mine shells, wich are basically spheres with holes, spireks and shackles. Karmin got inspired by these mines and started to collect them. The ambiguity of large scale corroded mine shells intrigued the artist. The shape of the mine is perfest and uniform, while still clearly bearing the stamp of its intial destructive function. Being marked by its belonging to the past, it is closely connected to the complicated recent history that Karmin has always been facinated with.

    Karmin’s entire work has relied on various contractions. He entered the Estonian sculpture scene as an innovator and the continuty of that trait in his creative biography presists, however the notion of classical sculpture and the classical material for sculpture – bronze – is still very important to him and he has time and again returned to it whether in free sculpture or monumental sculpture.

    Mine furniture, depsite its unprecedented novelty, brings together the two directions in the artist’s work. It can be clearly sensed how the artist has enjoyed playing with materials and forms, having developed both its meanings and looks, creating a versatile series, based on contradictions and contrasts.

    Karmin uses mines as modules. The entire furinture series is composed of only two existing basic forms of mines – the hemisphere and the cylinder. With great delight, he has concocted utility articles of diverse forms, resulting in armchairs, writing desk, bed, toilet, cupoard, bathtub, swing, fireplace…By the hand of the artist the militaristic metallic scrap has become the design furinture of remarkably modern appearance. He has added to the scrap metal the beautiful hand-treated copper details, metal mesh, perfect, leather upholstery and granite and glass surfaces, thus consciously increasing the semantic contradiction of objects. Mine furniture is by no means scrap furniture in its usual meaning; it is carefully designed and appreciated by handwork. Here we have works of art that are not just sculptures or pieces of furniture but both at the same time.

    Karmin’s mine-objects possess the obvious utility function, but also multifaceted interpretations. The value of minefurniture lies in its uniqueness, wit and ambiguity. As the end of mine project the artist created a mobile sculpture out of a Soviet military truck. His vechile has instead of a rocket a gigantic phallus of mine shells towering above, with four clocks at its top, showing time in four geographic places of the world – Moscow, London, Paris and New York. This ambiguous and wonderful work still awaits a proper place in the Estonian public space.

    2003

    Anu Liivak
    Managing Director of the Retretti Art Centre
    Since January 2009, Anu Liivak is the director of the Kumu Art Gallery
    Master of Arts

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